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As 2017 harvest gets underway in Crawford County, average yields not looking bad
latham combine
LOCAL FARMER Arlen Latham was busy harvest-ing the outer rows of a soybean field along Pine Knob Road in Utica Town-ship on Monday, Oct. 9. Latham indicated he was happy with the average yield he was getting given the tough growing year. If you look closely, you can see he had a little help along for the harvest.

CRAWFORD COUNTY - Sometimes being average can be a pretty good thing and that’s how some local farmers are looking at things going into this year’s harvest.

With the soybean harvest underway, farmers and others familiar with the situation are describing it as average yield and average quality. And, that’s a good thing considering some of the challenges the growing season presented.

The season started out wet and then got wetter. More than one farmer reported “mudding in” the corn and/or soybeans. So lots of crops survived a pretty wet start. And, it was cool well into the summer as well.

Then, it got real dry-almost too dry. Now, it’s harvest time and farmers seeing average yields and average quality are pretty happy with that outcome.

“It’s not so good, but it’s no so bad-it’s average,” Arlen Latham said as he harvested soybeans in a field on Pine Knob Road in Utica Township Monday.

Latham reported he was getting about 51 bushels per acre, as he harvested the beans along the road. However, he thought that number could go up a bit as he got further into the field.

Down the road near Ferryville, Swede Knutson was also busy harvesting soybeans and his report was much like Latham’s. Knutson also called it “an average yield.” However, he seemed pleased with that result.

“It’s better than I expected,” Knutson was quick to add. He noted that it was wet early with heavy rains through July and that was followed by no rain in August.

This year, Knutson said he was averaging just a little better than 50 bushels per acre.

Crawford County Ag Agent Vance Haugen said the good news is the yields were good for the soybean harvest so far. He had reports of some farmers going into the high 50s for bushels per acre.

To add some perspective to this year’s soybean harvest, Haugen noted that in 2016, the state average was 55 bushels per acre and Crawford County was 52 bushels per acre. To our south, the Grant County soybean harvest in 2016 averaged 62 bushels per acre.

The ag agent said Monday that he anticipated the soybean harvest was about 20 to 25 percent complete.

For his part, Knutson said that his own harvest was about 25 percent complete.

The corn harvest is expected to begin in earnest in about two or three weeks, according to Haugen. Farmers have completed any silage harvest at this point and some are harvesting high moisture corn.

Low corn prices could delay the harvest as some farmers might gamble and leave the corn in the field longer hoping to save money on the cost of drying it.

Knutson planned on harvesting his corn as soon as possible and drying it.

“It snowed at Halloween before,” he pointed out. “Then, you don’t get anything.”

Knutson was looking for a  rather average yield in the corn harvest also. He guessed it might average about 170 bushels per acre.

On Monday, the cash price offered by Gavilon on St. Feriole Island in Prairie du Chen was $2.94 per bushel for corn. November delivery was $3.14/bu. and spring delivery was $3.47/bu.

“That could certainly change,” Haugen said. “No one is expecting it to go to $4, but that depends on the harvest.”

Speaking of harvests, the Farm Journal wrote recently that Iowa farmers are expecting to harvest the largest soybean crop on record this year.

A USDA report puts the soybean harvest in Wisconsin at 16 percent complete as of October 1. The five-year average at that point is 15 percent.

Monday’s price for soybeans from Gavilon in Prairie du Chien was $9.02/bu.

How will the harvest of 2017 turn out? Stay tuned.